Yasato de Toreta Restaurant, located within the boundaries of the Flower Park in Ishioka City, was opened as part of an initiative by the Ishioka local government to revitalize and promote produce grown in the region. The name literally means “taken from Yasato”, Yasato being the name of the region of Ishioka (previously a separate town before merging with Ishioka in 2005) where the restaurant is currently situated. This name comes from the fact that, to the highest extent possible, the ingredients used in the restaurant are grown locally in Ishioka.
While being maintained by Ishioka, the restaurant is managed and run by Kiuchi Brewery. Although Kiuchi Brewery is well-known for their Nest Beer and umeshu (plum wine), it has also been very successful in the restaurant business as well, running two restaurants in Mito (True Brew in Mito Station and Nakaya, a soba restaurant in Keisei Department store), and one restaurant in Naka (Also a Nakaya). Kiuchi also was behind the “seasonal restaurant” that was set up temporarily at Uwaoka Elementary School in Daigo back in 2012.
The interior of the restaurant is clean and has a modern feeling in its design. The warmth of the dark wood of the walls and ceiling offer balance to the gray cement flooring. Each table and set of chairs is different, being designed and crafted by a local artisan. One of the artisans even created a wooden crocodile which is on display just below the servers’ window.
As mentioned before, the head chef, Mr. Mogi, tries his best to use only ingredients grown in Ishioka. The lunch menu consists of four main dishes: pasta, pork, fish, and beef. Each main dish comes as a course and includes an appetizer salad, choice of bread or rice, a dessert, and coffee or tea. The same menu, minus the pasta, is offered during dinner. As different vegetables go in and out of season, Mr. Mogi recreates the dishes every so often with what is available at that time. This means that no matter how many times you visit, chances are you will never experience the same exact plate twice.
During our visit, I enjoyed the pork course with rice. It came with a delicious 20-ingredient salad for an appetizer (the salad often changes, and all the ingredients used that day are written on a blackboard inside), sautéed pork with steamed vegetables as the main dish, and a cream cheese mousse with Asian pear gelatin and fruit for dessert. We were also treated to a three-squash soup, complements of the chef. The portions seemed a little small at first, but after eating the entire course it was definitely more than enough to fill you up. If you’re looking for a delicious meal for a reasonable price, I would definitely recommend Yasato de Toreta.
To make your trip to Yasato de Toreta even more worthwhile you can visit the farmer’s market that is located adjacent to the restaurant. Inside you will find the same tasty fruits and vegetables used in the restaurant, and plenty more (for a very reasonable price)! Mr. Mogi also writes recipes, which you can find in the market, so you can try your hand at making simple and delicious meals at home as well.
If you have a day to spare, why not visit the Flower Park, have a wonderful lunch at Yasato de Toreta, and do a little shopping for some tasty and fresh fruits and vegetables? You definitely won’t regret it!
200 Shimoaoyagi, Ishioka, 315-0153 (Map)
(Located within the parking lot of the Flower Park)
11:00AM – 5:00PM Tues – Friday (L.O. 4:30PM)
11:00AM – 8:00PM Weekends and Holidays (L.O. 7:30PM)
Farmer’s Market: 9:00AM – 6:00PM
(Both restaurant and market are closed on Mondays. If Monday is a holiday, they will be open, and then closed the following Tuesday)
http://yasato.com/ (Japanese only)